Loss of IGFBP2 mediates alveolar type 2 cell senescence and promotes lung fibrosis

Chin, Chiahsuan and Ravichandran, Ranjithkumar and Sanborn, Kristina and Fleming, Timothy and Wheatcroft, Stephen B and Kearney, Mark T and Tokman, Sofya and Walia, Rajat and Smith, Michael A and Flint, David J and Mohanakumar, Thalachallour and Bremner, Ross M and Sureshbabu, Angara (2023) Loss of IGFBP2 mediates alveolar type 2 cell senescence and promotes lung fibrosis. Cell Reports Medicine, 4 (3). 100945. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrm.2023.100945)

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Accumulation of senescent cells contributes to age-related diseases including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Insulin-like growth factor binding proteins (IGFBPs) regulate many biological processes; however, the functional contributions of IGFBP2 in lung fibrosis remain largely unclear. Here, we report that intranasal delivery of recombinant IGFBP2 protects aged mice from weight loss and demonstrated antifibrotic effects after bleomycin lung injury. Notably, aged human-Igfbp2 transgenic mice reveal reduced senescence and senescent-associated secretory phenotype factors in alveolar epithelial type 2 (AEC2) cells and they ameliorated bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis. Finally, we demonstrate that IGFBP2 expression is significantly suppressed in AEC2 cells isolated from fibrotic lung regions of patients with IPF and/or pulmonary hypertension compared with patients with hypersensitivity pneumonitis and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Altogether, our study provides insights into how IGFBP2 regulates AEC2-cell-specific senescence and that restoring IGFBP2 levels in fibrotic lungs can prove effective for patients with IPF.